Governor Ihsan Bafakih of the State Real Estate Authority (SPGA) said in January 2022 that payments for real estate demolished in Jeddah for redevelopment will begin 60 days from now.
He said that only 10 to 15 per cent of properties in Jeddah that have been demolished or marked for destruction carry legal ownership documents.
Mr. Bafaki during a programme titled “In the Picture” on the Rotana Harrisia Channel, where a committee was formed to evaluate the value of assets after each demolition work and the assets were dismantled within six months, said that the compensation will be paid.
He states that in expropriated and marked areas of expropriation, ownership rates range from 10% to 15% and the overwhelming majority of the rest are illegal land construction rice fields.
The municipality said the reason for the demolition was due to rampant crime in the area and that buildings were constructed without following municipal guidelines.
Mr. Bafaki said the standards issued by SPGA for people living in slums and random neighbourhoods apply to all such areas of the kingdom. “There is no hierarchy in the standards, and what was done in Kuzama and Dilia is the same as what was done in Jeddah and other slums,” he added.
The Jeddah Mayoralty, in cooperation with the State Properties General Authority, started receiving requests from owners of properties located in slums and undeveloped neighbourhoods that were marked for demolition in the Jeddah city.
The digital applications may be submitted through the mayoralty’s online portal, the mayoralty said while noting that there is no need to personally visit the committee’s field headquarters for the purpose of compensation.
The compensation for land and buildings will be given to owners of properties who have valid legal documents. In the event of no valid legal documents, the compensation will be restricted only to the buildings destined for demolition. Muhammad Al-Baqmi, the spokesman of the mayoralty, said that the digital mode of receiving compensation requests was aimed at expediting procedures to compensate owners of properties.
He said that the documents to be attached with the compensation request include a copy of the title deed or document; the owner’s data; a copy of the owner’s national identity; a copy of the agent’s national identity; a copy of the legal agency; clear photograph of the entire building, if any; copy of the electricity bill, if any; the building’s documentation number; and an aerial photo of the site if any.
It’s part of a plan to rid the city of “slums” and unplanned settlements ahead of a series of grand redevelopment projects, according to pro-government news outlet Sabq.
The displacement has caused a housing crisis, with rental prices skyrocketing across the city. In some cases, rents have doubled in a matter of days, residents say, and many aren’t able to afford them.
Some people have been forced to lay out their furniture in the open, taking shelter under bridges, according to eyewitness accounts. One resident said some families are sleeping in their cars.
Many have decried the fact that residents were not given ample time to find alternative accommodation. In some cases, they said, they were given the notice to vacate their homes within 48 hours.
In other instances, the municipality cut off utility services, such as water and electricity, to force residents to leave their homes.